Thursday, October 24, 2019

Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts And Its Use By God

Assessing Your Spiritual Gifts And Its Use By God

Text: 1 Cor 12; Rom 12; Eph 4

Audio Link

Introduction: Good as Your Dog

If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can get going without pep pills, If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time, If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, though no fault of yours, something goes wrong, If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, If you can ignore a friends limited education and never correct him/her, If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend, If you can face the world without lies and deceit, If you can conquer tension without medical help, If you can relax without liquor, If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, or politics, Then, my friend, You are ALMOST as good as your dog.

We are going to talk about spiritual gifts, but I have to tell none of them are going to make better than your dog. Nope, not going to happen.

The Gifts Understood in the Bible (Purpose)

Gifts were given for a purpose

To bless or profit all the church

1 Corinthians 12:4-8 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

For the work of the whole body

Romans 12:3-5
 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 

Spiritual gifts are not given for selfish reasons. They are not giving for your use at all. God gave these gifts to you for the benefit of others. To use them for yourself is a misuse of your gift. You and your gifts are given to the church.

The gift should remind us of all we owe to God. It should humble us not make us “think of ourselves more highly then we ought.”

The gifts given to each individual within the church is for the unity in the work of the Lord.

Buddy The Blind Horse

Sometimes though we don’t use our gifts as they should be used. We are a little like Buddy the Blind horse.

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area.  Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy.  He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.  The motorist was most appreciative and very curious.  He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try."

Transition: So what are these gifts we are supposed to use?

The Gifts Uncovered in the Believers (People)

Spiritual Gifts given to individual believers

The early sign gifts were given for the authentication of early church as God's house of wisdom. 

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;   To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;   To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Word of wisdom: the communication of spiritual wisdom.

Word of knowledge: communication of practical knowledge.

Faith: not saving faith but great faith able to believe and see God do great things.

Gifts of healing: supernatural healing of disease and infirmities.

Workings of miracles: able to do supernatural wonders.

Prophecy: foretelling the future and forth-telling the judgment of God.

Discerning of spirits: Supernatural ability to judge spiritual forces

Divers kinds of tongues: ability to speak different languages.

Interpretation of tongues: ability to understand different languages.

Gifts given for the work of the church until Christ returns 

Romans 12:6-9  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Prophesy (Judging, Discernment)

Ministry (Serving, Helping)

Teaching (Instructing, Guiding)

Exhortation (Encouraging, Uplifting other)

Ruling (Administration, Organization)

Giving (Contributing, Supplying)

Mercy (Comforting, Forgiving)

Why didn’t Paul include the same list of gifts?

First keep in mind which book was written first
1 Corinthians written around 54 AD
Romans around 58 AD

Much had been happening and changing in the life of the church since its founding to the time of Paul’s writing to the Romans.
Though the purpose of the gifts within the church was the same, the purpose outside the church was now different.

Sign gifts and miracles once use to identify God’s new house of witness were phasing out.
The time to “walk by faith not by sight” was fast approaching.

This does not mean God no longer heals or performs miracles but that it is not done as a “sign” to unbelievers, nor is it done through “gifted” individuals within the church body.
Epistle to Corinth was to deal with a specific situation, the abuse of the gifts, while Romans was written to give a full understanding of the gospel of salvation and the church’s role in carrying forth that gospel.

The main difference between the two lists is the absence of the “sign” or miracle gifts.
This is not by accident it is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through Paul.

The “sign” gifts would cease once God’s Revelation was complete.

1 Corinthians 13:9-11 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Paul names the very gifts he mentioned in chapter 12 and says they will cease. The question is when.
 He tells us in verse 10 it will be “when that which is perfect is come.”
“That” cannot be Jesus or his return but must refer to the revelation of God which is in view in the context

Perfect does not refer to sinlessness but to completeness. The subject has been imperfect knowledge which will be superseded when perfect knowledge, complete knowledge is given. That will be with the completion of God’s revelation which was the completion of the Bible completed when John wrote the book of Revelation.

We see instance where the “sign gifts” had already begun to cease.

1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

Philippians 2: 25-27  Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

Why didn’t Paul heal these men?
In Acts we are told “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”

Yet now he left one man sick, told another to drink wine as a medicine and prayed to God for healing another just like you and I do today.

The “sign-miraculous gifts” were fading. It was time to walk by faith.
Therefore, the only gifts of God for the church today are those in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4

Therefore, we have these gifts in operation in the church today.

Prophesy- Judging
The gift of prophecy makes a Christian extremely sensitive to sin and they react against it strongly sometimes forgetting to love the sinner while hating the sin.

Ministry-  Serving
 The Server has a great capacity and desire to serve God by rendering practical help in both physical and spiritual matters.  The gift of ministry is seen in those who the first offer help, the last to quit and the ones who never take nor get credit for what they do.

Teaching-  Instructing
 The gift of teaching makes a person want to share the depths of God’s word.  This gift is seen in those who find the greatest joy in a Bible Study and spend all their time looking for someone they can talk with about what they have discovered.

Exhortation-  Encouraging
 The gift of exhortation is seen in those who are “spiritual cheerleaders.” They motivate others both by example and positive words of encouragement.

Ruling-  Administration
 This is the gift of the overseer. This person is Gods steward and make sure that the affairs of the Church are in good order.

Giving-  Contributing
  This gift is found in those that God has provided the ability to give of their material resources. They give far beyond their tithe, sometime even beyond their means to carry out the Lord’s work

Mercy- Comforting
 This gifted individual has an overwhelming concern for everyone around them. They feel the hurts or others as if they were their own.

The Evangelist -  Proclaiming the Gospel
 This is the gift of a missionary, it is the special gift and calling of God to take the Gospel to people and lands around the world.

The Pastor/ Teacher -  Pastoring and Teaching.
The shepherd of the Lord’s church whose greatest desire is to care for and teach the flock of that God has given to him.

Everyone has at least one gift, most have several with one or two being prominent.
It is not important whether you call it a gift, a talent or an ability. All these things as we have seen are given in the providence of God and therefore He can use them through us no matter what we label them or when we think we received them.

There are several resources you can use to discover your spiritual gifts.
Parents, Pastors, Spouses and Christian Friends all will have insight into your service for God.
There are “Spiritual Gift Inventory or tests that can be used as well. Just be careful you use one that differentiates between the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans and Ephesians.

I highly recommend “The Spiritual Gifts Inventory” by Dr. Larry Gilbert available through Church Growth Institute. I have used it several times over the years and its ease of use and clear results make it one of the best. It is now online at


Much damage has been done to the church and the Bible due to a complete lack of understanding of the spiritual gifts. Some denominations, like the Pentecostals and Charismatics etc, have sought to reclaim the “sign” gifts of the early church and by doing so have lost the greater gift of the Word of God.

Personal and subjection revelation was never meant to replace God’s unchanging objective Word. By claiming something that was meant for the immature church, some have reverted to an immature spiritual state that stop Christian growth and opens a wide door to charlatans, huxsters and fools.
Use your gifts for the church and God will bless both you and the local body where you serve.

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